How to Get Your Team to Stop Dropping the Ball and Follow-Through

Follow-through is the engine of progress.

Poor follow-through, poor results.

3 dangers of poor follow-through:

  1. People don’t respect you.
  2. Procrastination drains your energy like a dripping faucet.
  3. Team performance drops. People end up waiting on others.


7 reasons people don’t follow-through:

#1. People stop following through when you don’t follow up.

You devalue follow-through you when you don’t notice progress. (Yes, people should follow-through without being noticed. So?)

If it’s worth bringing up, it’s worthy of follow-up.

#2. People don’t follow-through when you assign busy work.

I had a boss who assigned “cover your a** work (CYA).” I never did CYA work until she asked to see it.

#3. People don’t follow-through because you’re a meddling control freak.

Everything must be done YOUR way. But people tend to resist being treated like robots.

#4. People don’t follow-through when they are over-booked and stressed-out.

“More for less,” eventually becomes a losing strategy.

#5. People don’t follow-through because they avoid conflict. Make it easy for team members to bring up awkward issues.

Listen to problems when they’re small and easy to solve.

#6. People don’t follow-through because you confuse them. Instruction or direction isn’t clear.

#7. People don’t follow-through when initiative is punished. People wait for you to tell them what to do.

How to handoff so people follow-through:

Peter Bregman* observes that lack of follow-through is the result of poor handoff.

  1. Where is this project on your list of priorities?
  2. What’s the next step?
  3. What’s the timeline for taking the next step?
  4. What do you need to bring up before we end our meeting? Any concerns? Possible issues?
  5. Who needs to know about our plan? Who is going to tell them? How?
  6. When is our follow-up meeting?
  7. How can I help?

What might leaders do that hampers follow-through?

How might leaders help teams or individuals follow-through?

*Adapted from, “The Secret to Ensuring Follow-Through,” Peter Bregman